SAL

Another 3 weeks have flown past!

This Stitch-A-long is for personal stitching. We post our progress every three weeks, which keeps me up to the mark.

And I have done three more squares in my sample wheel. This is where I am up to now….almost finished the second ring.

I am following the instructions on Cathy Reavy’s YouTube channel. Let’s name the stitches.

1. Detached chain stitch. The stitching is attached at the sides, rather than going through the backing material.

2. Turkish rug stitch

3. Laid stitch, with French knots to make the cup of the acorn.

I really enjoyed doing 2 and 3, so I want to give you a close up of them.

Sweet little acorns, laid stitch and French knots. The stem is coral stitch, which was a stitch way back in the first ring.
Turkish rug stitch to build up this very cute little Christmas tree, with light spilling from the top!

Do follow the links to see the wonderful work that the other stitchers are doing. There is a wide — and inspiring — range of works. AvisClaireGunCaroleConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJLauraCathieLindaHelen

SAL

Yay! I thought I wouldn’t be able to post this today. When I went to use my laptop to write I only got a blank page. No idea on why, but I can’t edit or write. So I have moved to the app on my phone, and am letting my thumbs do the talking. (How modern, but quite frustrating.)

Last SAL I had nothing to show, so I was determined this time to have at least a couple of squares completed on the stitch wheel. I put the knitting down and picked up the needle. Here are the results:

3 squares done on the outer right edge

Normally I would link to Cathy Reav’s YouTube channel to show how to make the stitches, but I am afraid easily adding links is beyond my thumbs at the moment! So I will just name the stitches and let you do the searching.

  1. Battlement coughing
  2. Burden stitch
  3. Woven pivots– these make wonderful flowers, and while they are fiddly, they are quite easy.

It’s been a busy, exhausting couple of weeks and I hope to fill you in some time soon. In the mean time jump over to look at the other stitchers who post updates on their personal stitching. There are glorious things to see. (And if anyone has suggestions on how to fix my inability to write posts I would love to hear from you.)

AvisClaireGunCaroleConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneAJLauraCathieLindaHelen

SAL

Another three weeks have flown past! Let me show you what I have been sewing on my wheel sampler.

This is where I am now:-

I am working through the stitch samples from Cathy Reavys’ videos. This ring is about stitches that can be used as filing stitches. I am delighted with how the little boxes are looking, as well as learning many different stitches.

Let me tell you what the stitches are, with the link to Cathy’s videos for each one.

  1. Long and short stitch
  2. Padded satin stitch
  3. Spiders web stitch
  4. Woven roses
  5. Velvet stitch
  6. Seeding
  7. Satin stitch
  8. Jacobean couching

I think my favourite might be the spiders web stitch. Which one is yours?

This stitch-a-long is so that we can show the personal stitching we have achieved over the three weeks. There are lots of great things happening in this group. Follow the links to find wonderful embroideries and cross stitch work.

AvisClaireGunCaroleConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

SAL

Here we are again, marvelling that another three weeks have flown past, and that it’s time for the next Stitch-a-long.

I am working my way through the rings of Cathy Reavy’s Stitch Wheel Sampler. The third ring is finished, and as you can see I have begun the next ring. More of that next time. If you would like to begin, or find out more, go to Cathy’s Youtube channel.

As you can tell the stitches in this third ring are ways to create leaves. Some, like the closed fly stitch, were fun to do, and I will try to add them into my toolbox of stitches. However, I do find that some create the same effect, with only slight differences. Each stitch has a link to Cathy’s Youtube channel if you are interested in using them in your own work.

  1. Lazy daisy stitch

2. Closed fly stitch

3. Cretan Stitch

4. Raised Fishbone

5. Raised close herringbone

6. Open fly stitch

7. Wheatear stitch

8. Vandyke stitch

To be honest, I may have mixed numbers 7 and 8, as they both seem rather similar.

This Stitch-a-long is a group of very talented people. Click on the links below to see what magic they create with a needle, some threads and a backing material.

AvisClaireGunCaroleConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

SAL

For this Stitch-A-Long I am starting something new, something quite different to my other creations.

It is a stitching sampler that I saw on Margaret’s (quite inspirational) blog. However, the original idea and subsequent instructions come from Cathy Reavy. Her Youtube channel has all the instructions for this Stitch Wheel.

The sampler is in the form of a wheel divided into sections. Each ring has a theme of stitch types, and each section in that ring showcases a different stitch. The middle of the circle and the next ring are all about different knots. While I am not up to filling those in yet, I have watched Cathy’s videos and am looking forward to getting going.

A couple of things have slowed down progress. Firstly I had to hunt to find a 10″ frame. The January sales saw a run on crafty things, including these hoops. Then I followed Cathy’s instructions to bind the sections of the hoop. I am not usually good with preparation like this, preferring to jump right in.

The second road bump was that I originally chose a backing material with a weave that was too open. I finished all the lines and decided I didn’t like it, and that I didn’t like the thread I had used. The photo shows that first material with the erasable lines marked in.

So, second go. I am much happier with the material and the thread. The stitch is a split back stitch. Once the lines are finished I will go over the rings with a whip stitch….so still a bit of stitching to go before I get to the French knots in the centre.

From the comments in my last SAL post it seems like some of you might be interested in taking up embroidery. If you are, then I would recommend Cathy’s sampler wheel. Her videos are very good, and she clearly demonstrates each stitch. She even gives left-handed stitching a go!

I am part of a group of stitchers who show their personal work in this three weekly stitch-a-long. There is an amazing array of wonderful work, so do have a look by following the links. I am sure there will be something there to inspire you.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

SAL

I hope your holiday time was as pleasing as mine. It is Boxing Day today, and I am down at my sister’s beach house. We are sitting around, some are watching the Boxing Day Test at the MCG (a cricket match for those who don’t know ~ probably most of you!). I am getting organised, writing this Stitch-A-Long post to send off tomorrow.

Last time I showed you the gifts I was making for presents. Now I can show you, and tell you that they were received with delight.

This was to become a bag for Mum.

The backing material of the embroidery was linen, and I didn’t think about how bulky it would be when drawn. However, I am sure Mum will find something special to put into it. In my stash I found some pretty green cotton to make the lining.

The other stitching was to make a set of cards for Judy, my sister. She is one of those wonderful people who always remembers birthdays and sends cards. She said that these were too lovely to send, but I am sure she will find some special people.

I made some extra cards for a couple of friends.

It is so nice to be able to give the gift of hand made.

This Stitch-A-Long post is organised by Avis. We are a group of stitchers who post every three weeks (even over Christmas!) to show what personal stitching we have done. The variety of works is amazing, and the quality is always top notch. Use the links below to see their work.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

Sewing and mending

Before I launch into my sewing tales, I want to ask if you and your loved ones are okay? I do hope you are staying healthy while this virus rampages around the world. All is good here.

Now, onto other matters:

While I haven’t made a lot of progress on my hand sewing ~ The forest regenerates ~ I have had a productive week with the sewing machine. Once I had it out, one thing lead to another.

  1. A linen jacket

Every so often I hanker to sew a garment. This time I fancied something to layer, not a heavy coat, something lighter. An autumn and spring something.

After a look online I headed to the shop to buy the pattern. Simplicity 8468

[Can I diverge here for some advice? I often look at indie pattern makers, and like what I see. However, I have two obstacles:

  • the price I would have to pay for postage often doubles the price of a paper pattern
  • or they come as a PDF, and I wonder about printing them off. Have you bought PDF  patterns? How did you print them? How would you advise me?]

This shop is one of those huge chain stores, so I wasn’t going to buy my fabric there. Instead I headed to Fibresmith, in Yarraville. When you look at the cloth they have, you will understand why I went there ~ and why I had so much trouble choosing.

My eventual choice was sage green linen. It sewed up so beautifully, giving me a jacket that I know I will be wearing often and for a long while. I love the almost hidden pockets!

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Even the Fella said “Not bad” when I did my super-model act for the photo. And I was pleasantly surprised by the photo he took, as I only had to delete half a dozen previous attempts!

So, fired up I moved on to:

2. An addition to a top.

I bought a top in Japan. I wanted to wear it with leggings, again, adding layers. (I love layers!) But it never quite worked. Was the material too light? To floral? Was it too long? Too much like a nightie? Then I came across an idea on Ann Woods’ site. Do you know of her? She is a great one for mending, adding patches, as well as creating owls and mice and dolls and all manner of little things. Most of all I love her gentle writing.

Ann calls it a front bustle, and you can see a photo of hers if you scroll down almost to the bottom of this post.  This is my version.

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So maybe the solution to my Japanese top was to alter the hemline. We shall see. (Note how the Supermodel Slippers add an extra elegance!) It was quick and easy to do. Ann has instructions if you fancy something similar.

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3. Simple mending

I use old table napkins under the cutting board on my kitchen bench. The hems have given way. The are perfectly useable with wonky hems, but I thought a fancy border might be good. So I did.

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4. Slightly more difficult mending

I love long black jumpers, which layer wonderfully, but perfect ones are very difficult to find. I was annoyed when I discovered one of my favourites had been munched. I am sure I had to darn a sock back in my Brownie days, maybe for my Thrift Badge? It gave me a vague idea of what to do. Now I have a jumper that is full of mends, rather than holes.

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There will be more, as the poor thing has worn thin over the years. I took a photo showing the light coming through the jumper. You can just make out the green garden through the window!

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You know, with all the chaos in the world, it was lovely to do some mending. I can’t mend the world, but I can mend a few little things that I come across. Someone wise on the radio was speaking about the Climate Crisis, and how we feel so overwhelmed. What can one person do? She used the analogy of the Covid-19 pandemic, where we are all doing things to slow down its spread. They might be simple things like washing our hands and not hugging people, or bigger things like self-isolation, but they are things that work. They not only help to protect us and our loved ones, but the wider ~ indeed global ~ community.

We won’t save the world one darn at a time, but add up all the things we do across the globe. Maybe…..

Stay well and healthy.

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I have been creating some smaller abstract embroideries that I am calling ‘The jewel-sea’ series. I am going to show them off in my Letter from my Studio this weekend. Sign up if you would like a sneak peek.

contemporary embroidery

SAL ~ The forest regenerates #3

Only a little bit of progress in my sewing this time. However, each stitch takes it one stitch closer to being finished! This is where I was last time:

Contemporary embroidery

This is where I am now:

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It’s almost like one of those old fashioned “Spot the Difference” cartoons! (Remember them…two almost identical drawings, and you had to find a certain number of things that had been changed or left out of one.)

I have been sewing though. I finished three little works that I have called the Jewelled-Sea series. I will post more about them at a later date.

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After sewing these I felt I needed to look after my hands a little, and give them a break from sewing. That’s one of the reasons why progress on the purple one has been slower.

There is a group of us who join in this Stitch-A-Long, organised by Avis. They do wonderful stitching, so do go and have a look at what they are doing. A couple have finished a work, so celebrate with them! Welcome back to Linda, and a warm welcome to Laura and Cathie, two new members of the group.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny,Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ,Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda

contemporary embroidery

SAL ~ The forest regenerates #2

Many apologies for this late Stitch-A-Long post…I think I must have inadvertently deleted Avis’s reminder email…..which also had the current links to others who are joining in. So, I will link back to my SAL post from last time. Your other option is to go to Avis’ post. As well as getting an up-to-date list, you can look at the lovely highlands landscape she is sewing. Do go and see what delightful personal stitching the other group members are doing.

And more apologies…there is not really a lot of progress in my work. The weather here has been very humid, which doesn’t make for easy sewing. And life has been busy.

And I was a bit stuck with how to deal with the bottom of the work, which meant I wasn’t sure how far down to take the couching, and what shape to make it. More of that in a moment.

Last time…

Contemporary embroidery

This time….

Contemporary embroidery

I think I know how I am going to deal with the bottom of the work. I knew this texture couldn’t continue to the bottom. Firstly because I want to create some idea of trees in a forest, and secondly because the work needed variety of stitch and colour.

I played around with some thoughts in my sketchbook, and will do an approximation of this idea. Tree trunks, probably in white/cream against a mottled darkish background to simulate undergrowth. It will trail off to the bottom right to provide another diagonal. Well, that’s the idea! I haven’t investigated the thread stash to see what I have that will work. Maybe next time…..

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Apologies again for not having the list of other members to link to. Again, here’s Avis’ blog.

Contemporary embroidery

SAL ~ The Forest Regenerates #1

This SAL post is a couple of days late. Time seemed to slip away from me. This stitch-a-long is hosted by Avis, and should have been up on Sunday. At least now you will be able to check out everyone else’s posts (check the list at the end of this) and see wonderful stitching from around the world.

I have been working on free-form stitching of late. I enjoyed couching the threads on the last works, and have been carried away with couching on this current one. It is based on my love of trees. Many of you will know of my love of trees ~ not only individual trees but also the shapes and rhythms of them as a canopy. (If you would like to read more of where my tree obsession comes from, this post might help.) As I am stitching I am thinking of all the trees that have been lost in the fires over the Summer.

I am calling it “The Forest Regenerates”, but I may change forest to bush, to give it a more Australian flavour.

Its size is 25 x 30 cm, because that is the dimensions of a canvas I found to use when I am ‘framing’ it. I started without really thinking much about where it was going, only to find I was having problems with the tones. I couldn’t see which trees may be behind and which in front. Fortunately couching is very easy to pull out. (This photo doesn’t give you the true colour of the cloth, which is actually a vibrant purple.)

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So I began again. (The cloth colour is better, but it is still a more royal purple than shown here.)

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I was merrily couching along, until it dawned on me that it was becoming rather repetitive.

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Inspiration came from Patricia Brown who stitches over her paint cloths. I love her work. My work demanded some overstitching to help to make it zing.

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This is where I am up to…

Contemporary embroidery

And a close up

contemporary embroidery

Lots of lovely SAL projects at these links

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley,Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ

And a quick follow up on my reorganisation of my studio/playroom. I had some great suggestions in the comments about getting my table to fit so that I could face the window. It is all sorted ~ thank you!

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And again, while I have got you, a reminder about my Letter from my Studio, which comes out each fortnight (although lately it has been more erratic than I would like). In it I chat about my art and direct you to places where you can buy it. Jump to this link if you would like to sign up.